Subject matter is more than just the physical content that will be appearing in your photograph. It is also a mood, timing, context, and juxtaposition. The first thing I try to do is ask myself why am I taking this picture? The answer may be a portrait of my friends or family, capturing the spontaneity of a child’s activity, a reminder of a place, document wildlife, or in most cases to create a piece of artwork. Asking this question allows me to focus on the end result rather than shooting a thousand photos. If I’m out photographing a planned shoot, my idea has already been worked over in my mind, I have researched the area, and have calculations based on the weather conditions of that day before I even arrive on site. Once there I evaluate the site and work my plan to the best of my ability. Once I have what I think I need then I explore the area more for other things that may catch my eye. usually a particular element that caught my eye when I am out shooting study the surroundings.
As I grew stronger with my creative eye for composition I was able to foresee scenes that I would like to convert to Black and White, or add color processing to enhance the mood or atmosphere of the photograph. Another skill that I have noticed that has matured through practice is the ability to anticipate what is going to happen next and being ready to capture that moment.
I once read that “great subject matter is often the matter of noticing something that others don’t within a familiar setting”.